Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Things I didn't buy at the Strathroy Antique Mall

It was one of those perfect rainy Sundays this past weekend and I had the chance to wander around the Strathroy Antique Mall.  Full disclosure - a lot of the stuff there isn't my style, and I find a lot of it to be way overpriced.  So I didn't actually get anything this time, but I took lots of pictures to show you guys!  Lots and lots of pictures.  I'll do my best to remember prices, but no guarantees!

Loved these retro orange chairs, but they were $100 each!  The one to the right was slightly different and only $25 though.

I forgot to check the price on these lampshades, but I thought they were pretty ugly-awesome.

Okay, this is kind of weird, but I have this whole idea of having a wall full of Canadiana.  I don't know why exactly, but I keep finding myself drawn to it.  This picture of the Dionne Quintuplets was $25 I think.

They had the cutest vintage Barbie stuff - this tin kitchen was $60 I think

And this little playset was $35 I think - it all folded up into a case.

If you really wanted to spend some dough and had the right space, these stained glass windows were amazing - and like $1200 a piece.

Again with my Canadiana - a print of the old London courthouse, my favourite building in the city.  I really wanted it, but it was pretty small (like 11x14ish I think) and was $45.

Ah card catalogs.  I'm sure a few years ago places were just throwing things out.  These were $122 for the whole set of them.

See the Canadiana?  Love me a Mountie.  I love the lower one - I think these were like $25 ish each?  

I also liked this poster explaining the different military badges.

More retro chairs - there were two of these for $250 for the pair.  Yikes.

Sigh, I've always wanted shelves full of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books.  Something about those blue and yellow spines just gets to me.

Complete vintage Pyrex refrigerator set - $80.  This is why I buy my vintage Pyrex at thrift stores, not antique malls.

More of the quints!  These were old books from their birthdays, $15 each.

Teak coffee table - I just love it.  $125 I believe.

The linings on these old trunks are always so pretty!  I think this one was $120ish.

This hutch totally isn't my usual style, but something about it was just so pretty.  And see that hole in the lower right cupboard?  Because of that, this was $99.  If the right person could repair it, it would be a beautiful piece.

See, this is more my style.  Vintage with just the right amount of ugly.

I loved this little dresser - and at $49, it wasn't a bad price.  Unfortunately I already have more dressers than I need, so I couldn't justify taking it home.

Okay, these are amazing.  There's a booth with all these vintage war posters and they're fantastic.  This one is my absolute favourite.  They're pricey - this one is $235 and the other ones are all around $200.  They're big - full poster sized.  I really want one, but they are all in really cheap frames, and you would want to have them framed properly to preserve them, which would probably cost another couple hundred dollars so it's definitely an investment.  

I couldn't resist, so I took pictures of all of them to show you.  Feel free to buy me one.

Just had to take a picture of this since it's from Forest, Ontario.  Anyone know any Hambletons?  I've never heard that last name before.

I keep looking at these but just haven't picked them up yet.  They're old sketches from Vanity Fair in the late 1800s.  I like them on their own, but what makes it even better is that the one above is actually dated October 29th - my birthday!  They're $15 each, but again, they're in super cheap frames and I would want them to be matted and framed nicely.

I. Love. Picnic. Sets.  They are just so freaking cute.  I just know that if I get one though, I would never use it.  It would just sit around and be some cute thing in a closet.  I think this was like $60.

So there ya go - it's a nice antique mall if you're looking to wander around for a bit.  If you decide to go, buy me a present!

Monday, 29 April 2013

Treats of the Week

Good things from the past week...
  • I got to go golfing on Saturday!  I used to golf fairly regularly back in the day when I worked at a golf course, but these days it seems to only happen once a year.  It's one of those things that I forget how much I enjoy it until I actually get out there again.  It was a beautiful day (I got a sunburn!), I had some pretty good shots, and I got to spend the day with my mom with no children around - an extremely rare occurrence.
  • BBQ for dinner - When I was pregnant, I completely lost my taste for barbequed meat.  Even now I still have to be in just the right mood for it, and can only eat a little bit at a time.  That being said, there's nothing better than the lack of dishes that comes from firing up the BBQ.
  • I was going to say that so far Vivian has escaped this terrible gastro-bug that seems to be hitting everyone else, but then the chicken pox hit her daycare today (even though everyone's had the vaccine) so I don't know what's in store next.  So far, so good though!
  • Helping out friends - I've had the opportunity to help out some friends this week in the simplest ways possible.  One just by passing along some stuff that was taking up room in the basement, and the other by offering up that extra space for them to store some things.  Neither favour made me go out of my way at all, and it's so nice to be able to lend a hand.
  • A rainy Sunday spent wandering an antique mall.
  • Finally getting caught up on backlogged episodes of Arrow on my PVR (The Following is up next!)
  • The calm after the storm - Vivian has had a rough couple of days (so far I'm blaming the full moon).  There were tantrums and whining and time outs and screaming.  But I'm learning that when Vivian's in tantrum mode, I have to try and control my temper.  If I yell, it just makes it worse.  If I let her freak out for a little bit, then get down to her level and talk quietly to her and ask her why she's mad, she'll start to settle down.  Then I can hug her and snuggle with her and I'll feel all the tension leaver her tiny body.  As hard as it is to see her upset and not knowing how to solve it, it feels so good when it's over and she's calm.
  • Getting pizza delivered.  People bringing me food, it never gets old.
  • Summer movies being released - we're finally getting into those good summer movies!  
  • Finding good bargain books at Chapters.  I've been on a little book-binge lately.
What were the treats of your week?

Friday, 26 April 2013

Shopping Dos & Don'ts For People Who Don't Really Like To Shop

So I mentioned that my friend Jenn and I went shopping last weekend.  And not just "let's run in here on our way to do something else" kind of shopping, but actual shopping shopping.  Which can kind of be the worst.  Neither of us are big shoppers, and it was super unusual for us to both just have a day where we didn't have to rush to get home for anything and could just kind of browse.  It turned out to be a very fun (and successful!) day, but raised some funny situations and different tips and tricks from both of us, and we both thought it would be a funny blog post.  (Jenn is a blogger too, but hasn't written anything in far too long, so I'm publicly calling her out on it now!)

  • Do leave your coat in the car.  Even if it's freezing out.  There's nothing worse than having to drag around your stupid coat.
  • Do wear something comfortable that is easy to get on and off and will make you feel better about yourself when you've tried on something awful.
  • Don't pay attention to sizes, they're stupid.
  • Do cast a wide net - we were grabbing arm loads of stuff to try on, it really is the only way to know about most things.  Grab extra sizes because most of the time there's no one around to grab you something else.
  • Don't buy something you don't completely love, because you'll just hate it when you get home.  We were focusing on "home runs" only.
  • Do try to just laugh when things are terrible.  We both had basically the worst trying-on experience ever at Target - with piles of things to try on, nothing worked on either of us.  Every single thing I tried hit me in the worst way possible.  I tried on jeans that wouldn't even fit over my calves.  It was brutal, but just made us laugh.
  • Don't pay attention to lighting.  I don't know what it is about Lululemon, but they have the most unflattering lights ever.  Somehow when I was trying on pants there (this was a few months ago, but it applies here) I could see every single cellulite dimple through the pants.  It was horrifying.  But I bought them anyway, and they look completely normal at home.  I don't know why stores have such terrible lighting, but they do. 
  • Do walk away when H&M has stupid racks that don't have any kind of cap to hold the hangers on.  They just slide right off the end and make a huge mess and it isn't worth cleaning it up.  Trust me.
  • Do be grossed out by terrible change rooms.  H&M was not making friends with me this day - their fitting rooms were awful.  Size stickers on the walls and floor, dirt and hangers everywhere, and giant dust bunnies under the bench.  Not cool, H&M.
  • Do know thyself.  We were both equipped with very specific rules for ourselves as far as what works and what doesn't.  While it's always important to try things on to know for sure, there were a lot of things that we could eliminate right away based on knowing what works and what doesn't.  I know that if a neckline is too high, it will look terrible on me, so I don't even bother.  And...
  • Do know each other.  It's always great to have someone else looking for things for you.  Knowing each other's rules made this way easier - especially when you're totally different on things.  Jenn and I are two completely different body types and have way different tastes, so it was fun to find things for each other.  For example - Jenn can't stand all the exposed zippers that are in right now, but I think they can be fun.
  • Don't be a coupon hog.  I had a coupon for Smart Set that I wouldn't be able to use that day, and likely wouldn't have used another day, so I passed it on to Jenn.
  • Do pre-shop.  Jenn did a pretty intensive pre-shop in person, while I like doing an online pre-shop.  Check things out ahead of time, scan the sales racks and see if anything grabs your interest.  This is good on lunch breaks and stuff where you can whip in and out, but maybe don't have time to try things on.  It will save you time on the actual shopping day when you can just get things you want to try on.  This is also a good step to do if you're waiting for payday to come.
  • Do stop for a good lunch.  I'm getting old - my back starts to hurt after too much walking, so burgers are often necessary.
  • Don't lose focus.  I was looking for stuff for a Niagara Falls bachelorette weekend that I have coming up, and potentially for dresses for weddings this summer.  It's always my habit to look at stuff for Vivian though, which just ends up being a big time and money suck.  Put the kids clothes down and put yourself first for once.
  • Do stock up when you find something you like.  I found a dress that really flattered me at Old Navy - nothing special, but it just worked.  And it was on sale for $20, so I bought two.  I will probably be living in them this summer.  But...
  • Don't get discouraged.  When in doubt, turn to accessories.  They always fit.  Unless you have stupid giant wrists like me and there are bangles EVERYWHERE.
  • Do realize that for some reason about 75% of the stuff that you like when you're at Old Navy, you will probably hate when you get home.  For me at least, Old Navy is the worst offender.  For every article of clothing I've gotten at Old Navy and completely loved and worn to death, there's been a giant pile of cast offs.  Those clothes that I like in the change room and then never seem to fit me right when I get home.  Curse you, Old Navy.
  • Do visibly pout if you can't use the coupon you had.  Jenn did this, and she ended up getting the discount anyway. 
  • Do try to go out on a high note.  We ended our shopping trip at Maurices and had a great experience.  Great selection on sizes, cute stuff that really flattered us both, good prices, the cutest change rooms ever and super nice staff.  They had the kind of staff who starts a change room for you and then keeps coming back to collect more items from you.  This is basically the best thing ever.  Keep my hands free, load up that change room.  And don't put limits on how many items I can try on at once (I'm giving you the side eye, Target)  I'll definitely be making a point to keep checking them out.
  • Don't allow yourself to be stopped by random high schoolers in green screen suits doing flash mobs in the mall to collect money for something or other.  Keep talking and walk on by.
  • Don't put your empty Tim's cup in the bottom of your basket and then put all the clothes you want to try on on top of it.  Because your Tim's cup will tip over and spill just a tiny amount of coffee in the basket and maybe get a tiny bit on the clothes, which you will then have to pretend never happened as you dispose of the evidence and get a new basket.  Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Very Vivian - The Great Outdoors

Even though the weather right now is kind of garbage, we did have a few nice days in the last week or so (and are supposed to be getting more soon!).  Vivian is loving being outside - at daycare she wants to be outside all day - usually eating sand in the sandbox.  She wants to go straight to the backyard as soon as we get home, and usually wants to go out for a ride on her tricycle too.

I have to admit - it is so nice to be able to just throw her out in the backyard for a bit.  Fences are the best.

I do join her every now and then though, if only to take some pictures.

Maybe next summer she'll be able to have a nice swingset back there - have you seen the price of swingsets?!  In a perfect world where I win the lottery I would get her this  but I don't think that will be in the cards.  Maybe just a nice little sandbox?  I hear that you can get little devices to keep the cats out of them now, so the thing doesn't just turn into a giant outdoor litter box.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Why are small clothes so hard to organize?

I'll warn you right now that this post isn't exactly earth-shattering, but I find kids clothes to be insanely hard to organize and always enjoy seeing how other people do it, so I thought I would share my method too!

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone, but Vivian is just a little bit picky about her clothes.  She likes to have a lot of input.  There are many important decisions to be made, like which princess shirt to wear?  Or maybe it's a Hello Kitty kind of day.  Good thing I have her to help me.  So it was getting to the point that having her clothes in drawers wasn't working.  Besides, she had a basically empty closet with a dresser that was taking up too much space in her room.  So I changed it up and hung up most of her clothes.

She's got the old double bar dealio in her closet, so I've got her dress up stuff on the top bar and her shirts hanging on the bottom.  I keep her hoodies on hooks on the back of her bedroom door so they're easy to grab.  Then I had to figure out a system for her pants.  Kids pants are hard - they're just so little, I always find they end up in weird piles that just fall over anyway.  So I took some old skirt hangers that I had (from those days long ago when I had way more clothes than I do now) and just used them to hang up all of her little pants and shorts.

It works perfectly - I can get 8 pairs onto a hanger and can see what is clean quickly without having to dig for anything.

The other side of her closet has shelves, but they just get used for DVDs and other storage type stuff.

And then we have the little one-drawer dresser for the little stuff - socks, pajamas and bathing suits.

Probably the biggest thing for me when it comes to keeping her clothes organized is keeping it to just what fits her now.  As soon as something is too small for her, it goes into a bin.  When the bin is full, I take it to Once Upon a Child to see what kind of cash I can get.  Last trip there I got $64 for half a bin of clothes!  Whatever they don't take goes to Goodwill.  I don't like buying a lot of clothes that are too big for her either - I like to live in the now!

Like I said - nothing earth shattering.  I would love to paint the inside of Vivian's closet one day and make it something bright and fun, but that is pretty much as low on the list of priorities as you can get.

Anyone else have any good tips on keeping kids stuff under control?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Treat Yo Self

Sometimes, you just gotta listen to Tom and Donna and treat yo self.

I fell in love with this pretty purse the second I saw it posted on Hello Holiday.

SO MUCH PRETTY.  Giant kisslock, sweet scallop detail, it comes with two straps so it can be crossbody or a handbag and it's coral.  I loved it.  I wanted it.  So I decided to treat myself and get it.  It was a little pricier than what I would typically spend on a bag, but I thought it would be worth it.  So one night I went ahead and clicked that dangerous button - Add to cart.

That's when I saw that it would be $20 to ship it.

And as much as I loved the purse, that $20 was making me reconsider.  So I didn't complete the sale, and instead spent the entire next day obsessing over it.  I found a code for 10% off, and figured that that would be enough to push me over the edge and just go ahead and order it.  That's when I got a lovely email from the ladies at Hello Holiday saying that they noticed I hadn't completed my sale and to let them know if I had any questions or if there was anything they could do.  And just to sweeten the pot, they threw in a code for FREE SHIPPING.

How genius is that?  I don't know about you guys - but I put stuff into virtual carts and abandon the sale all the freaking time.  And most of the time, it's because I see the total and how much it will be to ship it and just bail.  So to get this code was exactly what I needed for me to log into the old Pay Pal and get it ordered up.

It shipped super quickly and was about the prettiest package I've ever received.  I've read Megan's blog posts about how important packaging is to them and they did not disappoint.  Pretty paper, ribbons tied in a bow, a handwritten thank you, a free button - it was all lovely.

I am in love with the bag.  I literally expect people to come running up to me in the street asking where I got it, because it's just that darn cute.  It's a lot smaller than what I'm used to (I think I'll still have to bust out my old Samsonite for trips to the movies - need the room for smuggling!) but it's nice to only have the essentials on me.

I will definitely be shopping at Hello Holiday again - I've already got my eye on these and this and I want basically every single dress on there, but have to restrain myself.

If you see me out and about, feel free to rush up to me and tell me how much you love my purse, it would really make my day!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Treats of the week

Does McDonalds still have a Treat of the Week?  I always loved getting that - especially when it was a sticker scene.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good name for these little posts of happy things from the week.  Today was a particularly crappy day at work (I got stuck behind a stalled truck in the Tim Horton's drive-thru which then made me late for work, I discovered a GIANT hole in my tights which caused them to run and be ruined, I forgot my swipe card at home so I needed security to let me in and out of everywhere, and I got stuck at work late.  Oh, and something is leaking from my car) I thought it definitely necessary to keep my perspective in check!

  • I got to pull out my sandals for the first time!  They are barely holding on by a thread, so I may need to replace them, but damn it was nice to wear them again!
  • A day spent shopping.  My friend Jenn and I went out shopping together on Saturday and it was so nice to just be out and not needing to rush back anywhere.
  • A burger with poutine ON IT.  It was insane.
  • Seeing Vivian at her first gymnastics lesson.
  • First trip to Denny's in Grand Bend of the season (no, this isn't the same as the other Denny's.  Those who know what I'm talking about know what a big deal this is!)
  • Wunderbar ice cream.
  • Things sprouting in the garden.
  • Knowing that I won't be stuck late at work for any other days this week.
  • The pizza delivery guy complimenting my Jeff Lemire posters.
  • Sleeping with the window open.
Hope your week was filled with lots of good things too!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Good ol' Kijiji

I've been staying off of Kijiji lately - not for any particular reason, it's just something that I kind of go in fits and starts with.  So last weekend I found myself idly browsing, not really looking for anything in particular when of course I came across a couple of things that I all of a sudden had to have.

Now, to preface, I've been obsessed with campaign-style furniture for a little while now.  Something about those brass details and inset pulls just does it for me.  Not sure what I mean?  Here's some examples - it seems to be quite the trend to paint them in bold colours.

Originally from - http://nattybydesign.blogspot.ca/2011/08/campaign-dresser.html


Originally from - http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2012/02/the-kelly-campaign/

Originally from - http://nattybydesign.blogspot.ca/2011/08/campaign-dresser.html

So pretty, right?  I guess originally they were used in military campaigns.  Here's a quick article from Apartment Therapy that explains more. 

Anyway, it seems like bloggers in the States seem to just trip over them on the sidewalk, or they find them for like $10 at a thrift store.  I've never really seen anything like it around here though, so I was beginning to doubt that they were even really a Canadian thing. 

So when I saw this on Kijiji, even though it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, I knew I had to jump on it or I would probably never find one again.

It has the brass corner details and inset handles, but for some reason it has a wicker face on the drawer?  Never mind the fact that it's one single drawer.  Super weird.

It's beat up, but I love it anyway.  I've got it in Vivian's room now - it's actually nice to have just the one drawer for her socks and PJs, since I've moved the rest of her clothes to the closet.  It could definitely use a sprucing up though - some paint might be just what the doctor ordered.  It was $25, and actually came from a place just outside of Grand Bend.

Find number two came from a super sketch part of London.  I normally only buy things from people with nicer houses than my own (because I'm terribly prejudiced, obviously) but for this one I made an exception.  I loved the look of it, and was really hoping it would be solid wood (it's not) but it's actually pretty well built and I think will hold up well.

She had it listed as a dresser, but that left side is actually a cabinet, so I consider it to be a bit more of a credenza type deal.  The drawers are actually really nice and deep too - lots and lots of storage space!  This one was $40.

It's currently living in the basement, waiting for the day that it can have a lovely TV on it.

Not the most earth-shattering finds, but fun nonetheless.

Now, any colour suggestions for Vivian's dresser?

Monday, 15 April 2013

More Happy Things

A few more things that made me smile in the last week or so...

  • Getting a pull-through parking spot at a busy grocery store.  Bonus points - it was close to the doors and it was pouring rain.
  • Cranking the Beastie Boys on the drive home from a long day at work.
  • Finding a bunch of fun new tights on clearance at the Superstore for $2.94 a pair
  • Pulled pork poutine.  I made the mistake of ordering this once at the movies, and now I want it all the freaking time.  It's terrible and wonderful.
  • Getting new glasses and contacts.  I've realized that having Vivian around makes it incredibly hard to wear glasses all the time.  Between swimming lessons, gymnastics and just generally playing around, my glasses are constantly getting in the way.  So I've gone back to contacts for most of the time, but also ordered a new pair of awesome glasses.  I've gone full-out hipster this time - except that they're Versace frames.  Because nothing says "hipster" like Versace.
  • Surprise parties!  I've been to two surprise parties in the last two weeks and they were both super fun and were for super-awesome people.
  • Raspberries.  I'm a total hibernator.  In the winter I'm all about hanging out on the couch and eating carbs.  By the time spring rolls around I get insane cravings for fresh fruit and veggies and get like three times the energy.  I bought some raspberries the other day thinking that Vivian might like to snack on them.  She doesn't like to eat them, but I can't stop eating them.  We did both enjoy putting them on our finger tips and pretending to be E.T. though.
  • Finding an awesome gift for a friend.
  • The new Louis C.K. special - loved it!
  • Daenerys Targaryen - Mother of Dragons and Queen of Badassery

Thursday, 11 April 2013

T-Shirt Art

So I have all of these shirts from TeeFury laying around that I don't really wear anymore.  As much as I love TeeFury, I find that their shirts can fit really weird depending on the colour (navy seems to fit me best, white seems to stretch out like crazy, grey seems to fit small...) and most of them just don't fit me right since I had Vivian.  This could be partially due to the fact that I wore them through most of the pregnancy, so they're all stretch and weird and whatnot.

Anyway, I couldn't bear to get rid of them, so I decided to turn them into art!  I'd seen this pin on Pinterest awhile ago...

For the love of god, I cannot get this pin to embed itself.  Whatever, here's the original idea - http://thenotsoblankcanvas.blogspot.ca/2012/09/threadbare-memories.html 

So I thought I would do the same!  A couple of canvases from Dollarama and I was in business.

I did a couple of different sizes to start - I still have a whole bunch to do.  I'm really happy with the effect though, and it's super simple.  Just wrap it and staple that shit down.  The hardest part is stretching the fabric enough to get rid of wrinkles and to keep it taut, but not so much that the image gets distorted.  You can tell on the Ab Aeterno shirt (the white one on the right) that it's a little crooked.  It was really hard to keep the lines straight - especially since I think this shirt was messed up from the start and was printed slightly crooked.  Whatevs, I think it's good enough now.

And just to mix it up, I have a couple in embroidery hoops...

I blogged about that old Emily shirt ages ago, and just added my Cubs to the collection.  Now I can't wait for all of them to be together on a wall somewhere - maybe the basement!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Very Vivian - Science!

Even though Vivian is becoming quite the girly-girl, I feel really strongly about giving her a wide range of toys and activities to choose from.  The princesses can ride in trucks, and Buzz Lightyear can hang out in a pink castle.  Balance, you know?

So today when Vivian wanted to bake, I thought I would do something a little different with her.  Instead of making cookies or banana bread (which I would subsequently eat) I pulled out the old baking soda/vinegar so we could have a little science experiment.

She LOVED it.  She just thought it was the greatest thing, and it was so simple.  No muss, no fuss.  In fact, my counter might even be a little extra clean now from her spilling all that baking soda and vinegar on it.  Obviously it's super basic, but hopefully it's one little thing that will maybe help spark her interest in science down the road.

Any other thoughts on toddler-friendly science experiments?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Outfit of the Day - Office Plaid

Over the last year or so, I've been really trying to pare my closet down to only items that I like, that make me feel good, and that work together (for the most part at least).  I'm much happier having fewer items in rotation that I know I can grab and feel like I look good instead of a bunch of stuff that leaves me throwing a tantrum and kicking clothes across the room in the morning.  The downside of it though is that you can end up in a rut of wearing the same things all the time.  So I try to find some ways to mix it up, at least a little bit.

So last week I tried to wear a more casual shirt - one that I most often wear on casual Fridays - with a dressier pencil skirt.  The result was comfortable and equal parts office appropriate and still casual.  At least I think it is.

Can't freaking wait for the warmer weather though.

Shirt - Zellers
Skirt - Zellers
Tights - Winners
Boots (you can't really see them, but they're the ankle boots - Aldo